Friday, April 4, 2008

Blast From The Past - Top Country Hits Of 1977

As with rock music, the seventies were lackluster years for country music. In previous posts regarding top country hits, I've jumped over the seventies, and with good reason.

I'm not saying everything was bad, because it wasn't. In fact, there were some very memorable country songs released during the seventies decade. It just might take me awhile to find them......

Again, I chose the year randomly. Because I like to be surprised.

So, let's see what we can dig up.

We always like to kick these things off with something good. So, here's something good:

MERLE HAGGARD - RAMBLIN' FEVER

The rule of thumb here is, we don't make fun of The Hag. So, let's just say, this is a very nice live performance, including the Strangers, featuring Bonnie Owens.

We do get a glimpse of Roy Nichols and Norm Hamlet here, which is always a treat. Aside from the Buckaroos, the Strangers were the best band in country.

And, come to think of it, the Strangers is a great name for a band!


MARTY ROBBINS - DON'T LET ME TOUCH YOU

Hey! 1977 is starting out better than I'd hoped!

Here's another great LIVE performance. This really shows the essence of Marty Robbins as an entertainer. Notice that, while he goofed around in his inimitable way, he never lost sight of the song.

Seeing this reminds me of how much I miss Marty.


While we're on a roll:

THE KENDALLS - HEAVEN'S JUST A SIN AWAY

This has always been one of my favorite country songs, and it was a huge hit for the Kendalls. One tiny criticism here: Jeannie's blue shiny parachute outfit with the red boots worn on the outside of the pants is not a fashion statement I would choose to emulate. But it was 1977, after all. Maybe dressing ugly was the thing to do back then. But I don't really recall that.

Funny story (to me). My toddler used to sing along with this song on the radio. And if you don't think a two-year-old singing, "Heaven's just a sin away" is funny, I don't know what funny is.

Ah, good times.


JOHNNY PAYCHECK - SLIDE OFF OF YOUR SATIN SHEETS

Introduced here by Jim Ed Brown and Jerry Clower (a true pain in the ass - "whoo!"), here's a guy who never got the credit he deserved.

Here is one biography I would love to read. Johnny lived a colorful life, to say the least. And while he may have taken a wrong turn on the road of life (for example, biting off someone's ear), he was a great artist and a great songwriter.

He's another one of those, sadly, forgotten artists.


EDDIE RABBITT - TWO DOLLARS IN THE JUKEBOX

Is that The Wolfman introducing Eddie???

Wow! Blue leisure suits and shaggy hair. That reminds me of my first wedding! Just slap on a boutinniere, and you've got my wedding in a nutshell!

But I digress, due to the unfortunate flashbacks. Eddie is another one of those (sadly) forgotten artists. I really liked him. And I really like this song. For a boy from New Jersey, he knew how to find the essence of a country song.


THE OAK RIDGE BOYS - Y'ALL COME BACK SALOON

Obviously, this is a later performance of this hit song, because it's missing something important ~ William Lee Golden and his long, flowing beard. This appearance came some time after William Lee quit the band in disgust. If I remember correctly, he quit because the other members of the group refused to sing off-key, like him. Just kidding.

But William Lee was a big part of the group, so I was glad that he came back eventually, even though I was kind of over the ORB by the time he did come back.

But let me tell you, in their day, the Oak Ridge Boys were huge! I went to see them at the State Fair back in the seventies, and I was thrilled. Ah, how times change.

My former hairdresser, who was kind of an ORB fanatic, and traveled all over the country to see them perform (?), told me that, surprisingly, Joe Bonsall was the nicest "Boy". I guess Richard Sterban (the flailing tambourine player) wasn't very nice at all. Nor was Duane Allen. That kind of surprised me. Duane "looks" nice. I guess that just goes to show you that appearances can be deceiving, when picking one's favorite Boy.

Oh, and aren't you glad "Elvira" wasn't from 1977, so I don't have to include it here? I know I am.


EMMYLOU HARRIS - (YOU NEVER CAN TELL) C'EST LA VIE

Speaking of HUGE, Emmylou was HUGE in the seventies.

And here she is, doing an old Chuck Berry song. One of Chuck's better songs, in my opinion. But I always was a sucker for French.

And, hey! There's RODNEY CROWELL! And here I always thought that was a woman singing harmony on that song. (No offense, Rodney.) I happen to be a huge Rodney Crowell fan, so it's good to see him in his earlier endeavors.

And, is that the guy from "My Name Is Earl" playing steel guitar??


GEORGE JONES & TAMMY WYNETTE - NEAR YOU

Everybody always says that George Jones is the "king of country music", or "the voice", or the "plastic grocery bag", or the "dead-bolt lock", or the "stained coffee mug", or the "spray nozzle", or something, of country music. I must admit, I'm not a big admirer of George Jones. I mean, he's okay, but I just don't get all the hoopla. It's not that I dislike him. But, to me, there are many better singers from his time.

If you want to split hairs, I would say:

The King Of Country Music = Hank Williams
The Voice = George Strait
The Plastic Grocery Bag = Well, let's go with Kenny Chesney (ha! ha!)

But, again, I'm way off topic.

Tammy Wynette, on the other hand = The Voice (well, first runner-up to Patsy Cline).

So, I'll go with Patsy Cline, then Tammy Wynette for $200, Alex.

But, together, these two did sound good. I never tire of hearing Tammy.

So, let's just say, to be fair, the duo succeeded because of Tammy's voice and George's harmonies.

Let's close this segment out with this one:

WAYLON JENNINGS - LUCKENBACH, TEXAS

You've gotta tip your hat to (most likely) the biggest song of 1977.

Unfortunately, I can't find a video of Waylon & Willie singing together, and the video I did find is not a real great performance.

But, much like Emmylou and the ORB, Waylon was doing well in 1977. I think he deserves a topic all his own, and I plan to do that at some point.

And, like Marty and Eddie and Johnny and Tammy, Waylon is (sadly) gone, too.

I guess 1977 wasn't so bad after all. Kind of hard to argue with artists such as these.

But, in all honesty, there were a lot of bad hit songs that I didn't include here, because I'm going with the positive tonight.

For whatever reason.

I know; that's not like me.

At all.


There you go.























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